June 22, 2011

Evaluating learning — Case Study

The class I have chosen to follow in the case study is a year 8 group. They are a middle ability group (set 3 of 5). Within the class, there is significant variation in attainment, and a number of pupils with behavioural needs.

The pupils I have selected to include in the study I will refer to as follows:

  • Lower attainer: pupil F
  • Middle attainer: pupil S
  • High attainer: pupil T

The majority of lessons have 3 Learning Targets. Broadly speaking, all three are targets for pupil T, the first two are targets for pupil S, and the first is a target for pupil F.

General information about each pupil

Pupil F struggles to concentrate in lessons. As a result their work is of a low standard and frequently incomplete. I will be pleased if they provide evidence that they have met the lowest target for each lesson.

Pupil S is quiet in class. If they understand the task, then they are diligent and produce good quality work. However, too often they get stuck and are unwilling to ask for help. When this is noticed, they respond well to one-to-one help; when this is not noticed they can make little to no progress during the lesson.

Pupil T is keen to participate in class discussion, they usually produce good quality work, frequently messy, but generally accurate and of a high standard.

Personal Targets

My targets at the start of the half-term are to better manage behaviour, particularly in lessons directly after lunch (Mondays) and to use Assessment for Learning techniques in every lesson.

A couple of my lessons before the Easter holidays had been spoiled by poor behaviour management. And this was something I am all too aware required improvement.

I have used Assessment for Learning techniques in many lessons. My target is to use them in every lesson.

Week 1 (w/b 26 April)

Due to the bank holidays, the class had only one lesson this week. As I was away at an interview, the class were set work on Fractions of amounts.

These questions were marked in class the following lesson.

Pupil T successfully completed two pages of these questions that built up in difficulty, up to 1/3 of 159.

Pupil F demonstrated that he too was able to calculate fractions of amounts, solving 1/8 of 192 successfully.

Pupil S was absent for this lesson.

As I was not in any lessons with the class this week, I shall not update my Personal Targets.

Week 2 (w/b 02 May)

Two lessons this week:

  1. Fractions—-Equivalent, adding and subtracting
    • Must realise that fractions can be written in many (equivalent) ways.
    • Must be able to simplify fractions.
    • Should be able to add and subtract fractions by choosing a common denominator.
  2. Converting between Fractions, Decimals, Percentages
    • Must use equivalent fractions to convert to and from percentages/decimals.
    • Should use equivalent fractions to add/subtract fractions.
    • Could investigate forming fractions using only unit fractions.

Pupil T met all targets (bar the last, which was not covered in the lesson). His homework is evidence of his success.

Pupil F provided some evidence that he can add fractions, including using equivalent fractions, but this is insufficient to draw any strong conclusions. He needs encouragement to work, and in future I must try harder to check that he is both progressing and recording his progression.

Pupil S is able to convert simple fractions into equivalent decimals and percentages. She demonstrates a strong ability to simplify fractions, while her addition and subtraction is not error free.

Personally, I am moderately satisfied with my performance this week. Behaviour is generally better, and the respective targets were almost met by each pupil. AfL is still not as embeded as it could be, so this long-term target remains; and it is joined by a target to make more use of differentiation.

Week 3 (w/b 09 May)

  1. Multiplying and dividing fractions
    • Must be able to multiply two fractions together.
    • Should be able to simplify calculations before multiplying
    • Could be able to divide one fraction by another.
  2. Fractions review
    • Must add and simplify fractions with a common denominator.
    • Should add fractions with different denominators.
    • Could investigate Egyptian fractions.
  3. Percentages
    • Must write a number as a percentage of another.
    • Should calculate a percentage increase or decrease.
    • Could solve word problems involving fractions

Pupils F and T were absent during this series of lessons.

Pupil S successfully multiplied fractions and showed an improvement in her addition of fractions. The percentages lesson was more of a general roundup of the previous lessons than I had anticipated. Nonetheless, pupil S showed once again that she could successfully convert between percentages and decimals. Her self-assessment was that she struggled with adding different denominators but was good at simplifying fractions

A disappointing series of lessons, without much momentum. This was not helped by absenteeism within the class. Neither was it helped by my generally dull expositions. A new target for next week is to make more use of ICT when presenting information to the class. Hopefully this will generate more interest and attention.

Continuing to develop the use of AfL and Differentiation remains a target.

Week 4 (w/b 16 May)

  1. Measures—-converting units
    • Must convert from one metric unit to another ($\mathrm{m}\rightarrow\mathrm{km}$).
    • Should convert between imperial and metric units.
    • Could use spreadsheet formulas to quickly convert.
  2. Converting units
    • Must be able to convert between metric units.
    • Should be able to approximately convert between metric and imperial measurements.
  3. Imperial measurements
    • Must convert between imperial and metric units.
    • Could decide which unit is the most suitable in a given situation.

Pupil T demonstrates a good understanding of converting units, and writes “I understand but I need a bit more help with the convention of some units that are not familiar”. His classwork shows that he met all but one of the week’s targets.

Pupil F admits that “I struggle on the decimals”. Despite this he again provided some evidence of conversion from litres to pints.

Pupil S also met all but one of the targets, converting well between metric and imperial units. She wrote “I got them all right, but I’m still not confident as I had help from friends”.

Another more successful week. I have met my target to use more IT. The first lesson was based in a computer room, and then MyMaths was used to introduce imperial measurements.

I have added two additional targets for next week and beyond. They are to plan in more detail (include examples that will be used) and to make the structure of the lesson clearer and more apparent to pupils.

Week 5 (w/b 23 May)

  1. Bearings
    • Will understand why bearings are a useful way of describing locations and directions.
    • Should use a protractor to measure bearings on a map.
    • Could use bearings to draw scale diagrams.
  2. Bearings
  3. Scale drawings and bearings conclusion
    • Must recall the steps to measure bearings.
    • Should accurately draw a scale drawing.
    • Could use bearings to draw maps to scale.

After one lesson pupil T wrote, “I found it a bit tricky but a bit more practise and I think I might get the hang of it. This was largely true, as he excelled the following lesson. His homework reveals some misconceptions, however, as he got his points ‘the wrong way round’ and did not measure clockwise.

Pupil F was distracted during the first lesson this week. As a result, he was held back into lunch until he could demonstrate that he was able to measure some bearings. I thus know that following this lesson, pupil F was able to measure basic bearings.

Pupil S remains unhappy about using angles to measure bearings, using compass points instead.

Assessment strategies

  • Exercise books were collected, checked and selectively marked on 3 occasions during the half term. These were used to inform my assessments as detailed above.
  • In-lesson questioning including `Red Amber Green’ self-assessment was used to a greater or lesser extent during every lesson. The purpose of this was both to summatively assess their progress and to inform target setting for future lessons.
  • Many lessons were ended with a few minutes for the pupils to summarise their learning and progress by writing a sentence or two into their books. Pupil S was particularly good at this and made a number of mature reflections; some of which I have recorded above.

Final reflection

The exercise of following these three pupils was a useful one, helping me to see how improved behaviour management (Weeks 2,3) and embedding ICT (Weeks 3,4) can improve understanding.

I was not able to organise myself enough to make the precisely targeted help that might have helped all the pupils meet more of their targets; but I am satisfied that their progress was at least satisfactory. Improved differentiation is a definite target for the future, that I look forward to meeting soon.

I am happy with the assessment strategies that I used, although I accept that they also require development to fully meet my target of embedding AfL in every lesson. In the future, I would like to make more use of self-marking to allow me to focus on making formative comments and personal target setting. My marking to date has included some examples of such comments, but leaves much to be desired.

Overall, I am pleased that the project has helped me to focus on my personal targets that will have the greatest impact on my teaching (Differentiation, ICT, and AfL).


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Perhaps you could put up some examples of questions they’ve all managed to do, and some which only the high attainer could do.

    Also what are you doing to stretch the high attainer, and to scaffold pupil T

    20 May 2011, 12:26


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